Apple just surprised us all with a new budget iPod touch: a $229, 16GB model that replaces the two-year-old device the company has been selling for $199. This iPod touch looks like a great deal; while we haven’t yet reviewed it, it looks like it’s probably worth buying if you’re trying to get into the Apple app world.
The main differences between this model and the existing iPod touch (2012)
We expect a full new line of iPod touch handhelds to come along with the new iPhones in September or October of this year, but it looks like those will replace the existing $299 model, not this new budget unit. Maybe that means this gadget will be bumped down to $199 then, but Apple has had $229 as the price floor for new iPod touches in some previous years, so I wouldn’t count on that.
Should you get the new $229 iPod touch?
Who Should Buy The New iPod touch
Parents. The iPod touch is the perfect kids’ device: It lets them play games and doesn’t require a service plan. While I’d appreciate a touch with no ability to take self-shots at all, at least this model will cost less to replace when your kid breaks it.
Fitness buffs. While most bikers and workout aficionados will go for the more portable $149 iPod nano
Media streamers. Do you use a lot of Spotify, Netflix, or Pandora at your home or office? That doesn’t take up much room on your handheld, so you’ll be just fine with a 16GB unit.
Existing 8GB iPod touch owners. If you don’t have a Retina iPod, the new screen will dazzle you. If you have the earlier 8GB iPod touch (2011)
Digital camera owners. The big difference between this model and the $299 unit is the more expensive model’s 5-megapixel camera. But if you already have a digital camera you like, you may not need one built into your iPod touch. While many iOS apps take advantage of the camera, they usually also require an Internet connection, and the iPod touch (unlike the iPhone) isn’t always connected.
Who Shouldn’t Buy It
Serious gamers or movie owners. The latest Retina games clock in at a gigabyte or larger each; so do movies. You’ll quickly run out of 16GB of space with just a few movies and big games.
16GB or greater iPod touch owners. While the faster processor offers a real speed bump over the 2011 model, I’ll be a little conservative here and say that if you’re upgrading a larger capacity iPod touch, save your pennies and go for the higher-end device, or hold out a few months for the next generation.
People who just want to listen to their own MP3s. Save $80 and buy a nano.
Smartphone owners. Modern smartphones do everything the iPod touch does and more.
Toss out the Sony immediately; it’s quite overpriced for its ancient specs. The Galaxy Player also comes up pretty poorly next to the iPod touch, with an inferior screen, processor, and Wi-Fi, although it has expandable memory and is a decent choice if you’re heavily invested in Google’s Android apps. Still, though, you can get a higher-quality unlocked Android smartphone for a little more, so the Galaxy Player’s value proposition is weak.
Apple has run away with the non-cellular handheld market for years with its iPod touch line, and this budget model continues to cement its reign. If, for some reason, you don’t want a smartphone, the new iPod touch looks like an excellent buy for younger or lighter users.
By Sascha Segan, PCMag